Linda McEvatt, one of the founding members of the Irish Immigration Reform Movement (IIRM) in the 1980s, who worked tirelessly to secure legal status for the undocumented Irish at the time, died suddenly on July 12. 

A licensed clinical social worker and therapist who lived in Whitestone, Queens, McEvatt was 56 years old.

A native of Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath, McEvatt spent countless hours volunteering with the IIRM and was a beloved member and friend to all in the group.  

The leadership of the organization issued a statement on Monday which said, “RIP Linda McEvatt! A sincere warmhearted person who did heroic work in the IIRM in legalizing the Irish of the 1980s. It is said that many look back on their lives wondering if they made a difference. Linda doesn't need to worry about that! 

“A sharp, witty person who brightened up our lives. A tremendous innovative organizer who put the Wolfe Tones in their place, as well as the rest of us from time to time!”

Read more: Still an opportunity for immigration reform for the Irish

The Brehon Law Society joins in the mourning of the loss of Linda McEvatt, LCSW.
Information about the wake below:
Wednesday July 18th, 2018
James Romanelli-Stephen Funeral Home
89-01 Rockaway Boulevard
Ozone Park, (Queens) NY 11416

— Brehon Law (@BrehonLawNYC) July 18, 2018

On the website for her psychotherapy service, McEvatt wrote, “From a personal perspective, I emigrated from Ireland in the early 1980s, at a time when there were many young undocumented Irish people residing in the New York area. 

"At that time, I became an activist within New York City’s Irish community and was very involved in an organization responsible for motivating the established Irish American community to lobby for changes to the immigration laws culminating in the establishment of the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery program, which still exists today.

“Throughout the years, I have also engaged in a series of volunteer activities such as running immigration clinics for international students at an English conversational language center; strategizing as a member of the 'Diversity Committee' for LGBTQ elder organizations in their efforts to attract more diversity among their membership; and being a 'friendly visitor' for LGBTQ seniors.”

Read more: Who are the Irish allies for immigration reform in the Trump era?

McEvatt earned a master’s degree from the Hunter College School of Social Work.  Prior to her work as a therapist, she worked in the legal field.

A service for McEvatt took place at James Romanelli-Stephen Funeral Home, 89-01 Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park, Queens on Wednesday, July 18.  Final services will take place in Dublin.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.